The reason behind the increasing number of oral cancer cases in India

India bears a significant burden of oral cancers, accounting for about 30 per cent of all global cases, as per doctors. April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Also known as mouth cancer, the disease is the most common form of head and neck cancer affecting older adults, with an increasing incidence among young adults.

Dr. Sowrabh Arora, Senior Director – Surgical Oncology (Head & Neck), Max Hospital, Vaishali, stated, “Oral cancer is a significant health concern in India, ranking as the second most common cancer overall and the most common among males.” Dr. Mohit Saxena, Senior Consultant – Medical Oncology, Marengo Asia Hospital, Gurugram, added that 70 per cent of cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage.

The rise in oral cancer cases is attributed to factors like tobacco use, chewing betel nuts, excessive alcohol consumption, HPV infection, weak immune system, poor nutrition, excess body weight, and sun exposure. Dr. Sowrabh emphasized the need for awareness campaigns and preventive measures to curb the rising prevalence, especially among the younger population.

Early detection is crucial for better outcomes. Dr. Mohit advised being vigilant of symptoms such as mouth ulcers, patches, swelling, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, neck swelling, and weight loss. Prevention strategies include tobacco and alcohol abstention, safe sex practices, sunscreen use, and regular oral screenings.

With the pressing need to address the root causes of oral cancer and increase awareness, doctors stress the importance of preventive measures and early detection. Awareness campaigns and regular screenings can aid in curbing the rising prevalence of oral cancer, especially among the younger population.


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